Melbourne Writers Festival: How Louis de Bernieres survived being a bestseller

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres.
Nanjing Night Net

British novelist Louis de Bernieres will speak at the opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival. Photo: Penny Stephens

British novelist Louis de Bernieres will speak at the opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival. Photo: Penny Stephens

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres.

British novelist Louis de Bernieres will speak at the opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival. Photo: Penny Stephens

The Dust that Falls from Dreams by Louis de Bernieres.

British novelist Louis de Bernieres will speak at the opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival. Photo: Penny Stephens

Louis de Bernieres. Photo: Penny Stephens

Read a review of The Dust That Falls from Dreams 

In the early part of his career, Louis de Bernieres, fuelled by coffee and cigarettes, wrote four novels within four years. He’s grateful that the first three had been published before the fourth, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, became a gigantic hit, selling millions of copies.

It changed his life, bringing fame, fortune and critical acclaim. But without the early publishing experience, he doubts he would have been able to cope. “I would have spent the money, despaired – and taken to drugs and alcohol.”

The British novelist, fuelled these days by red wine (“it slows you up a bit”),  is in town to talk at Thursday’s opening of the 30th Melbourne Writers Festival.

“I was suddenly invited all over the world. People wanted to know what my favourite smell was and all that rubbish. I had less and less time to write and less continuous time in which I could concentrate.”

That was partly why his subsequent book, Birds Without Wings, took such a long time to write. “It was also the first time in my life I had any money and I spent quite a lot of the time spending the money rather than working.”

More recently he’s been hard at work on The Dust that Falls from Dreams, the first part of a trilogy inspired by the discovery that the grandfather who had vanished in the 1940s had been living in Canada until he died at the age of 96. “What that did was kick off a lot interesting possibilities.” The missing man had married de Bernieres’ grandmother, whose first fiance had been killed early in World War I.

While his subjects are often love and war – war, he says, brings out the strongest stories – de Bernieres baulks at the label of romantic novelist.

“I am very interested in love, but all the different kinds – the love between parents and children, between siblings, or between human beings and animals. There are so many different kinds of human love and I am determined not to get stuck on the romantic one. I’m probably more interested in how you love your daughter than how you love your wife.”

He knows where he’s heading with the trilogy, even if he hasn’t mapped the whole thing out. Indeed he’s written the last chapter: “I’m pleased with it because it’s in the form of an epitaph, so that’s sad but it implies a very happy ending.”

When he returns to England, he has another pressing task. Nelson Woss, producer of the film adaptation of his book Red Dog, has asked him to write the novelisation of the cinematic prequel, Blue Dog, that is in post-production.

“My first reaction was no chance, this is just prostitution. Then he sent me the script and it’s really good. I’m going to get it done by Christmas so it can be out in time for the film.”

But apparently there’s a question of revenge. “You know how scriptwriters always mess around with your story? I’m going to get revenge by messing around with his.” He seems serious. FIVE PICKS AT MWF

Rob Thomas: Veronica Mars to IZombie.

Thursday, 9pm, Deakin Edge

Annabel Crabb & Kate Grenville: Wives & Mothers

Friday, 7pm, Deakin Edge

Laurie Penny on Feminism

Friday, 5.30pm, Deakin Edge

Mark Latham: Politicians as Journalists

Saturday, 2.30pm, Deakin Edge

Aussie Bestsellers: Liane Moriarty & Graeme Simsion

Sunday, 10am, Deakin Edge

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‘Disgraceful’: parents vent anger at children’s hospital parking costs

Parking remains an issue for parents of sick children being treated at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital. Photo: Michelle SmithLady Cilento Children’s Hospital concerns raised in JuneLady Cilento Hospital ‘rushed opening’ findings to guide Sunshine Coast hospital
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Parents unhappy with the cost of parking at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital could see some relief in the near future.

The issue has been raging on the Children’s Health Queensland Facebook page since August 3, when the price of parking at the facility increased by $1 per visit.

Parents expressed their anger at having to fork out between $8 and $28 for parking.

“It already costs me $27 to park for my daughter’s monthly medical treatment admission,” wrote Lauren Harrison.

“That’s over $5000 in parking for the next 16 years of her (never going to stop) monthly admissions.”

Commenter Kate Lolive described it as “disgraceful”.

“Having to attend the hospital multiple times a week and also other hospitals and appointments for my daughter with multiple disabilities, the stress of the financial cost and extra stress trying to find street parking or other options available is something that families with sick children don’t need,” she wrote.

The LCCH has more than 2000 car spaces available in the hospital precinct for staff, patients, families and visitors, including 650 in the basement car park and 1500 in the Hancock Street car park.

Both are run by Mater Health Services which sets the price of parking.

In a statement, Mater said its fees were benchmarked against the general area, and all revenue was reinvested in patient care and medical research.

“Mater is aware of the high demand for car parking in the precinct and the anxiety that is caused when parking is difficult to find,” the statement said.

“As a result Mater is working closely with Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital to develop some solutions to ease access to parking for patients and their families and it is hoped these will be able to be implemented in the near future.”

Children’s Health Queensland CEO Fionnagh Dougan said they realised parking was an ongoing area of concern for parents and relatives of sick children.

“The introduction of four-hour parking zones on the Upper and Lower B1 levels of the hospital’s basement car park aims to address this issue and improve access for LCCH families,” she said.

“The four-hour time limit will deem them unsuitable for commuters and workers in the immediate area and nearby South Bank precinct, thereby improving availability for families.”

But parents on Facebook have dismissed the four hour parking zones as hopeful at best.

“What is going to happen if you park there for more than four hours? Are they going to start fining people?” asked Kirsty Butler.

“What if you’re waiting for an appointment and the clinic is running behind? I’ve waited for 2.5 hrs for an ophthalmology appointment for my daughter before as they were running that behind.”

Ms Dougan said the LCCH already provided discounted parking rates for some families experiencing particular hardships.

“These provisions generally assist families of long-term patients, rather than have them incur normal costs for weeks or months of parking,” she said.

But many parents believed the criteria for receiving such support was too limited.

“When I inquired about this, I was told eligibility is being an inpatient for three or more days and holding a health care card,” wrote Cassie Hammond.

“There was no inclusion of outpatient appointments, which for families with a child with chronic and complex care needs are often many and it is often difficult to get appointments on the same day.”

Sharlenn Mizzi accused the LCCH and Mater of profiting off people’s misery.

“We travel 47kms everyday and then pay a nearly $30 in parking fees,” she wrote.

“We have a child who is chronically ill and will be in and out of hospital for years to come. In this admission we have paid close to $400 in parking passes. Queensland Health stop sitting on your hands and sort out this ridiculous situation!”

Parking costs at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital: First 30 minutes $830 minutes – 1 hour $141 hour – 2 hours $182 hours – 3 hours $223 hours – 4 hours $244 hours to 24 hours $28Lost ticket $40Unlimited parking permits are available for $72 for three days or $110 for five days. 

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Jo-Ann Miller integrity question deflected seven times

Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller is “working hard”, just ask acting Premier Jackie Trad. Photo: Chris HydeSeven times asked, seven times deflected.
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“Working hard” has become the acceptable answer to any question a minister is asked about a colleague, with acting Premier Jackie Trad falling back on Annastacia Palaszczuk’s answer from July 13 in relation to beleaguered Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller.

At that time it was in regards to whether Ms Palaszczuk believed Ms Miller was doing a good job. “She is working very hard,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

On Wednesday, when Ms Trad was asked if she had confidence in Ms Miller despite her referral to the Ethics Committee, it was her turn to use the phrase.

Seven times.

“In relation to Jo-Ann Miller, everybody knows that the issues that have been canvassed of the past day and a half are now before the Ethics Committee as they should be,” she said.

“I am a very good colleague of the Police Minister, Jo-Ann Miller, and can I say the Ethics Committee needs to get on with its job without interference, without speculation, without pre-empting all of their deliberations.

“I’m very happy to say that Jo-Ann Miller is working very hard preparing for Estimates and I work closely with Jo-Ann Miller as I do with every single member of the Palaszczuk Labor Cabinet.”

To say anything else would be to interfere with the Ethics Committee investigation, Ms Trad added.

“The Premier of this state has articulated her position in relation to Jo-Ann Miller and this, quite frankly, is not going to be a circus where everybody standing up is going to comment on whether or not they have confidence in the Police Minister,” she said.

“The Police Minister is entitled to have her matter dealt with by the Ethics Committee in a way which is free from interference, quite frankly.

“I do think it interferes, because obviously this is the basis of the questioning about the matters that are currently before the Ethics Committee.

“Jo-Ann is working hard and I know that she’ll do a great job tomorrow at the Ethics Committee, ah, at the Estimates Committee.  We should just let the Ethics Committee get on with its job.”

But that won’t stop the Opposition from asking about it every day during the estimates hearings, despite successive chairs ruling the questions, which are meant to focus on how the government is spending taxpayer money, continually out of order.

Shadow transport spokesman Scott Emerson said he believed that is what Queenslanders wanted.

“We are determined to make sure we keep the pressure on this government, over these issues of integrity, openness and accountability,” he said.

“This is a scandal of this government that that Police Minister remains in the job and we will continue to question the government on why it is continuing to protect Jo-Ann Miller rather than do the right thing by Queenslanders and sack Jo-Ann Miller.

“I think Queenslanders want us to keep questioning this government over this issue.  They understand that the Police Minister should have no integrity issues about her.”

But perhaps the message was slowly seeping in. Tim Nicholls, after complimenting Ms Trad on her new haircut, stated he had intended to ask about Ms Miller, but believed he already knew what the Chair’s answer would be, when he took the lead questioning role at the estimates hearing less than an hour later.

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Walking many miles for smiles

Toni Carey, clowning around for a good cause.Ingebirah local Toni Carey is getting close to the start date for her “Miles for Smiles Charity event”, a walk from Jindabyne to Bowral in the Southern Highlands, beginning next Monday August 24 at around 9.00am. She will commence with a three kilometre (km) snowshoe walk up at Perisher and then go down to Jindabyne to walk around the lake. Toni and several companion walkers will finish up in Bowral on Saturday September 12.
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The walk will cover a distance of around 230km taking in various bush trails and town walks along the way, with a stop over in Canberra of around five to six nights, where Toni and her companion walkers will walk around the Canberra CBD, Lake Burley Griffin and also walk some bush trails in the surrounding National Parks.

“During the walk we will dress as Clowns and carry buckets for donations, brochures and smiles on sticks to give out to passers by in an attempt to raise awareness and hopefully, $5,000 for the Clown Doctors who do a fantastic job of making sick children and hospital staff in over 22 different hospitals around Australia, smile,” Toni said.

Toni retired to Ingebirah from Bowral where she had worked in the health sector. A friend of hers, Dr Peter Spitzer, a family GP, brought Clown Doctors to Australia and started the Humour Foundation in 1997 with performer Jean Paul Bell. Dr Spitzer passed away last year and Toni is walking in memory of Dr Spitzer as well as to raise money for the Humour Foundation.

Anyone wanting further information may contact Toni at [email protected]南京夜网.

She also has a Facebook site: facebook南京夜网/jindabyne2bowral and for donations people can donate directly to: https://clodocs.everydayhero南京夜网/au/milesforsmiles

If people want to catch up with Toni, walk some of the way or donate while she is on the road, her schedule for the region is;

Day one, August 24 – Jindabyne Town walk 4.35km, extra walk towards Lake Jindabyne 3.27km and Rock Creek Snowshoe Track at Perisher 3km.

Day two, Tuesday August 25 – Lake Jindabyne walk along foreshore to East Jindabyne 17.5km.

Day three, Wednesday August 26 – Coolamatong Golf Course walk and Berridale shops 8km

Day four, Thursday August 27 – Tuross River walking Track – Wadbilliga National Park 4km, North Ridge Reserve walk 4km, Lambie Street historic walk 5km.

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It started with the kids

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HOW TO SAVE A LIFE: Mollymook Surf Life Saving Club vice-captain Annette Chapman, captain Adam Woodward and president Rodney Austin are preparing for a busy season on the beaches.

TWO people who have taken leadership of Mollymook Surf Club’s patrols over the coming season both started their involvements with the club after their children got involved with the Nippers program.

New surf club captain Adam Woodward and vice-captain Annette Chapman are preparing for a busy season patrolling Mollymook Beach from September 19, along with the North Mollymook and Narrawallee Beaches for six weeks during the peak season.

Adam and Annette said no major changes were planned to the club’s operations.

Instead, “It’s just a matter of maintaining the standards that we’ve got,” Adam said.

The club has about 200 patrolling members and “Our job is to ensure they are the best informed they can possibly be,” Adam said.

“It’s not difficult to do because they are all so diligent.”

Part of their role of overseeing all patrols and life saving duties is focused on ensuring all volunteers are complying with all health and safety regulations, to maintain the club’s high standards.

Those standards were important, Annette said.

“I think everyone who’s a part of this club is proud to be involved,” she said.

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Workers back at Kelso aged care project expansion

BACK ON TRACK: Whiddon Kelso’s director of care services Nicole Mahara and Andrew Symons, site manager for Grindley Construction, on site yesterday at the $14 million expansion of the local aged care facility. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 081915cwhiddn2A $14 million aged care project at Kelso is back on track.
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The Whiddon Group’s plan to expand its residential care home was thrown into turmoil in early July when the company in charge of the project went into liquidation.

The demise of Keystone Projects came as a shock to the teams of tradies working on the expansion, but most of them are now back on site and working for the new team in charge from Grindley Construction.

In the meantime, Whiddon says the appointed Keystone administrator will follow due process in matters relating to all creditors.

When completed, the project will add 60 aged care beds to the nursing home.

The additional rooms will all be private rooms with ensuite bathrooms. There will also be an on-site cafe, restaurant-style dining rooms and a beauty salon.

Whiddon Kelso says construction is again well underway just over five weeks since Keystone Projects went into voluntary liquidation.

In the week following the liquidation, Whiddon secured Grindley Construction as the new partner and began re-engaging subcontractors who were previously working under Keystone Projects.

The majority have been retained, including Bathurst Electrical, Tanner Plumbing, Dunbar Scaffolding and Jim Grives Bricklaying.

Whiddon’s director of care services Nicole Mahara said the expansion was now about one month away from completion.

“We have achieved a number of key milestones over the past few weeks, including the pouring of the new road and driveway that leads to our new entrance,” she said.

“Over the next few weeks the subbies will be working on landscaping, painting and the electrical fit off, and our Whiddon team will be fitting out the interior of the home prior to opening.

“The worksite has regained its buzz and, with the subcontractors back on-site, work is really progressing once again.

“We are around one month out now and, with inquiries and our wait list continuing to grow, we are looking forward to opening the new wing and welcoming our new residents.

“A few of our team travelled to Sydney last Saturday to help at the opening of our new home in Glenfield [also by Grindley Construction] and having seen the finished product and heard the wonderful feedback from families, we are very excited for our own opening.

“The support that we’ve received has been fantastic, our residents, staff, families and community have been great and very understanding and we have been working with Grindley Construction and the local team.

“We’ve had barbecues on-site and invited the builders to join us for a couple of morning teas.”

Grindley Construction site manager Andrew Symons said the past few days had been the busiest at Kelso since Grindley took over.

“We’ve got labourers, concreters, tilers, plumbers, painters, landscapers, electricians, carpenters and many more on-site,” he said.

The new wing at Whiddon Kelso will be opening for tours for the many people on the waiting list and for the community in late September.

New residents will be moving in at the end of September.

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Stawell’s skies lit up by Aurora Australis

Bright: Lyn Mackenzie captured these images of the stunning Aurora on Saturday night. This photograph was taken by Lyn at 11.16pm.
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THE Wimmera was treated to Aurora Australis once again at the weekend.

Red skies: The skies lit up across the Wimmera as residents were treated to Aurora Australis once again at the weekend. This photo of the Aurora was taken at 11.42pm. Pictures: Lyn Mackenzie.

Lyn McKenzie was one of many photographers capturing the phenomenon.

She said it was the best show she had seen at Stawell.

“The one on Saturday night showed us several different types of aurora including a Proton Arc and Picket Fence.

“We don’t get to see it as clearly as Tasmania usually because we get the top of it, but on Saturday night we were not only able to capture it on camera,it was very clearly visible to the naked eye. It danced across the horizon as a whitish glow which showed the curtain effect as well as the beams shooting upwards.

“The cloud also co-operated by clearing right away and only returned as the show waned around midnight.’’

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Dirty days

MUD BATH: The Blues’ Dylan Galea gets a feel for the Ballan surface during last Saturday’s round 17 Central Highlands Football League clash with Hepburn. Picture: Kate Healy.BALLAN Football Netball Club president Billy Smith is confident the state of itshome ground won’t be a long-running issue, providingit can land funding to fix drainage issues at the sporting reserve.
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The Central Highlands Football League club has been forced to use alternate venues for many Tuesday night training sessions, despite a major upgrade of the playing surface during the off-season.

Ballan has not had to shift any home fixtures because of the issue, but its condition has been the talk of many within league circles.

Photos taken by The Courier’s Kate Healy on the weekend show just how bad the oval is in some areas.

Smith said thetwo issues contributing to the muddy surface were the lack of time the new grass hashad to establish and the drainage throughout the precinct.

Hesaid rainfall from the tennis and netball courts quickly flowed onto the oval, which is located well below.

“At the start of year all the seed washed off the oval because of the reserve drainage, so the oval had to be reseeded due to this issue,” Smith said.

“We are little bit disappointed, but we understandthat the grass is young and once it has a good 12 months for the grass to establish, we are hoping that it will be a lot better next year.”

Moorabool Shire Council chief executiveRob Croxford said it was expected that the oval would battle in its first season following the refurbishment, which was completed inApril.

“The playing surface held up well for the first part of the season, however with the recent heavy rains, like all grounds in the region, the quality of the surface can be compromised,”Croxford said.

Croxford saidcouncil had “no direct day-to-day responsibility for the recreation reserve”, buthas been and will continue to assist the crown land committee of managementand the club within itsresources.

He said any further drainage works will need to be assessed against allprojects into2016-17.

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After the guessing, let’s hear the truth on same-sex marriage

SUPPORTERS of marriage equality across the Central West have been granted at least one of their wishes by Calare MP John Cobb.
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Mr Cobb has made no secret of his support for the traditional definition of marriage and he has long maintained that he gets the sense most of his constituents feel the same way.

That claim certainly contradicts published national polls that show support for same-sex marriage is running at anywhere from 60-70 per cent and local marriage equality advocates have, rightly, wondered whether Mr Cobb’s reading of the issue reflects more on the circles in which he mixes than the wider community view.

Well, now both sides of the argument have the chance to put their opinions directly to their elected representative.

Mr Cobb has this week distributed tohouseholds in his electorate a questionnaire asking residents to “tell me what’s important to you”.

It covers a wide range of economic,environmental and social issues, but it is a reflection of the times in which we live that the question about same-sex marriage is sure to create the most discussion.

And it is to be hoped that Calare voters on both sides of the argument respond in their thousands to give the clearest possible view of just where the electorate stands.

If only those residents who support same-sex marriage take the chance to respond to the questionnaire then it will be easy for Mr Cobb’s office to disregard the results.

Similarly, if marriage equality advocates pass up this chance to have their say on the basis that Mr Cobb’s position is already well-known, then they forfeit the right to complain in future about a lack of consultation.

Whether you agree with his politics or not, it must be said that Mr Cobb has done exactly what every federal politician should do with their printing entitlements – use them to gain feedback from the voters rather than publish a one-sided cheer booklet for the government.

Good on him for doing so. Now it’s up to the people of Calare to do their bit and the results can speak for themselves.

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Collectors’ gathering gets stamp of approvalPhotos

Collectors’ gathering gets stamp of approval | Photos Hilde Duits from Nowra holds up one sample from her 30 years of collecting.
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Sanctuary Point’s Geoff Layton with a sample of the stamps he brought for evaluation.

John Pratt from North Nowra.

North Nowra’s Dick Stephenson, a stamp collector for 70 years, specialises in stamps from France and Germany.

Coin collector Greg Dawes from Bomaderry holds up one of his most colourful coins.

Jacky Nolan and Jason Berg from Nowra with children Clayton Hudson, 16, Tobi Hudson, 12, and Oliver Berg, 6, who seems more interested in collecting dinosaurs.

Andrew Gillam from Parma, president of the Shoalhaven Philatelic Society.

Win Morehouse from Sydney and Peter Bailey from Sussex Inlet.

Edward Blakeney from Sydney with just a sample of his wares.

Doug Wade and Sue Holmes from Sydney with just one sheet from Sue’s grandmother’s collection.

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Passenger on board

Ballan resident Michael Vale, who has commuted to Mildura by public transport regularly for years to visit his father, joined the voices calling for a return of passenger rail services to north-west Victoria’s major centre by urging residents to attend a Public Transport Victoria forum on Monday night.
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A regular public transport user said a passenger rail link to Mildura would be very popular. Picture: Michael DiFabrizio

Mr Vale is no stranger to Victoria’s regional rail network – he uses the Ballarat line to commute from his home 80km north-west of Melbourne to the city for work and back again each day.

When he visits his family, who moved north to Mildura in the 1970s, he catches a train from Melbourne to Swan Hill, and then a bus from there to the top of Langtree Avenue.

Mr Vale said a return of passenger rail services was a must for north-west Victoria but he acknowledged it also required a significant infrastructure spend.

The Ballan resident said people in Sunraysia needed to vote with their feet if they wanted the State Government to take notice and return a rail service, which was axed in 1993.

“My view is, if you want to increase the frequency of services, use the bus,” Mr Vale said.

Services between Swan Hill and Mildura were regularly full, Mr Vale said, with seasonal workers, younger people and retirees all using public transport to commute.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Thursday’s Sunraysia Daily 20/8/2015. To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

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Public told to push rail at forum

MILDURA residents have been urged to keep a return of passenger rail services on the agenda ahead of a public transport planning forum next week.
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Public Transport Victoria will hold a consultation at the Grand Hotel on Monday night as it develops a regional transport development plan, with rail advocates prepared to make their case.

Mildura councillor Ali Cupper said the community needed to take advantage of every opportunity it had to show the State Government how important a return of passenger rail services would be for the region.

“If Mildura isn’t included in that, why are we even part of Victoria? What communities that are really isolated need are stronger, robust public transport options,” she said.

Cr Cupper criticised the council for showing a lack of leadership on the issue and encouraged them to advocate more strongly for a return of the rail service.

“The impression I get from councillors is they want it completely off the agenda,” she said.

For more of this story, purchase your copy of Thursday’s Sunraysia Daily 20/8/2015. To subscribe to our Digital Edition Click here

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Construction for wellbeing centre to start in a month

An artist’s impression of the $34 – $36 million wellbeing centre to be built by Beyond Today.Development company Beyond Today will start construction of its wellbeing centre in September/October, investing $34 to 36 million into the region.
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Local builder South Coast Constructions will begin the development of the medical centre first, which is planned to be completed and operational in 2016.

Expressions of interest are being taken for the health pods in the Wellbeing Centre.

The development will include the medical centre, health pods for dentistry and podiatry and high and low care nursing for about 100 residents.

Beyond Today director Steve Wright said there was a demand for a health and wellbeing precinct.

“The new Resthaven facility at Port Elliot has been a success and has proven there is demand for facilities which we are proposing,” Mr Wright said.

“It is under supplied.

“The Wellbeing Centre will have all the qualities that consist of our housing development at Hayborough.

“It will be green, energy efficient, have open space and plenty of car parking available.”

The development will be situated on four hectares of land adjacent to the Fleurieu Regional Aquatic Centre (FRAC) where construction started in late July.

The FRAC is located on the corner of Ocean and Waterport roads on four hectares of land, which was gifted to the City of Victor Harbor and Alexandrina councils by the Wright family, who are the directors of Beyond Today.

“The area where the Wellbeing Centre is to be built has always been earmarked for health and education,” Mr Wright said.

“We could build 60 homes on it, but prefer a wellbeing precinct instead.”

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